Sam Killebrew

Senior News Writer


On Jan. 27, an email from President Bolton informed the campus community of another departure of a key figure on campus: Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Myrna Hernández. In the email, Bolton explained that Hernández would be assuming the role of Chief of Staff and Vice President of Administration at Grinnell College in Iowa. After Hernández’s departure,  Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Senior Associate Dean of Students Cliff Bobbitt will replace her as the Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. 

“In her short time at Wooster, Hernández played a key role in significant changes at the College, such as increasing the visibility of class deans on campus and refining Wooster’s Care Team early intervention program. This past year, she worked with units across campus to develop a new approach to team-based mentoring, strengthened student mental health support and campus safety services, and was part of the team leading the student center renovation project,” said Bolton. Many students will remember Hernández for her leadership in the COVID-19 Taskforce. Bolton summarized her work:  “In addition, Dean Hernández played a huge role in Wooster’s pandemic response, serving on the COVID-19 Taskforce, leading on-campus vaccination clinics, and administering the College’s rapid response Student Financial Emergency Funds initiative to ensure students have the resources necessary to continue their studies amid the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.”

When asked about why she had made a decision to leave, Hernández explained that this was a plan six years in the making.

“Maybe once in your lifetime you get offered your dream job. And when you do, you should take it,” Hernández said. “This is a job I’ve been looking at for six years.” She continued, “This is probably not the time I would have chosen to take up this job, but that’s not how opportunities come. They come when they come. Whenever you take a new job, you don’t know what you don’t know. I’m anxious about what questions I didn’t ask, and what roles I don’t know I’ll have to undertake.”

The Voice also talked to Bobbitt, Hernández’s predecessor. Since he has only served as a dean for a little over a semester, the idea that he will soon be the vice president of Student Affairs puts him in a unique situation. When asked about his anxieties or insecurities about filling this role, Bobbitt explained, “I got into this work because I want to be a good mentor for students. So the thing that worries me is letting students down. Knowing that students may leave even when I’m doing the best I can—that worries me.” He added, however, “I’m more excited than anxious. I’ve been doing this for twenty years. Everything I do is for students. There’s going to be times, of course, when we aren’t going to be able to give students what they want. But I think my ability to listen is going to make me a good fit.” 

Dean Hernández shared a positive attitude towards Bobbitt’s new position as well. When asked about her confidence in Bobbitt’s ability to fulfill this role, she said, “I feel really good about Dean Bobbitt taking my place. I’m excited to have somebody who is excited about being here and working with students and moving things forward. One thing about my short time here is that there’s a lot of things that I’m going to leave unfinished, but I am confident in his abilities and the department I have built to undertake these tasks.” 

When President of Scot Council Emmy Todd ’22, who has worked closely with Dean Hernández for a considerable amount of time, found out about Hernández leaving, she said that she was “initially sad to see [Hernández] go.” However, Todd soon came to terms with her feelings. “She seems really happy with the direction of this new job, so I’m happy for her,” she said. 

Todd also detailed Hernández’s significance on campus, stating,  “I think [Hernández] has done a lot of work with Diversity and Equity on campus. She’s also collaborated a lot with the four year Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan. She’s also strengthened her role—students really know her and her role on campus.” She added, “I’m biased, but I think one of her biggest contributions is her interaction with Scot Council and students.”

When asked about Bobbitt’s position, Todd explained, “Dean Bobbitt is relatively new to the College, but he’s been under the mentorship of Dean Hernández for the past semester, and he’s interacted with a lot of students so I’m hopeful for his role on campus.” 

During Hernández’s short time at Wooster, she has made impacts across several fields. Her work in her department, with Scot Council, and with students has made her a face to remember, and her departure is surely going to make an impact here at the College. When asked about what she wants to leave Wooster with, she paused for a moment, then said, “In any job, I think my goal is always to leave things better than I found them. I think one of the things I have done here is that I have hired a lot of good folks that are truly student-centered. I think that’s the real thing I am going to leave here. Another thing has been trying to break down some of the processes, making things easier for students. I think about my work, and I do not know that we have accomplished our end goals, but I think each step we have taken has made it a little easier for students here.” 

 “I am a first generation college student, and my family always taught me that education is a path forward,” she said. “For me, that’s always been about making things easier, being a support for people who do not have it. You hear all the time that institutions are cold and impersonal and do not care, so I have always tried to show that care in the work that I do.”

Written by

Chloe Burdette

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